Where are you currently employed?
Although I am classified as a Sound Services Person, I actually work as an Encoding Operator in StudioPost at NBCUniversal.
I transcode for digital distribution anything that is owned or distributed by NBCUniversal. That includes features and TV shows, both current and whatever is in the NBCUniversal library.
Describe Your Job.
Mainly, I transcode our internal mezzanine files for the highest quality transfer to whatever format requested by the client. Depending on the client specifications, the job could also include re-slating and adding foreign audio to our internal mezz files, or conforming closed caption files.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I wasn't really aware of this specific type of work before I was hired to do it. I went to Emerson College in Boston, where I got my degree in Media Production with a specialization in Digital Post-Production. I was interested in editing but I really enjoyed the entire range of the post-production process. I decided then that I wanted to pursue a career in digital post. The first full-time job I got when I arrived in Los Angeles was at Technicolor, where I learned transcoding and many other skills.
Who gave you your first break?
My current boss, who oversees the encoding operations at NBCUniversal. She also hired me for my previous job at Technicolor. When she left Technicolor, she made it possible for me to have an interview for my present job at NBCUniversal.
What was your first union job?
My current one at NBCUniversal. I was surprised and grateful that I had logged enough hours at Technicolor to be able to get into Local 700 when I changed jobs.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
The only actual screen credit I have is an intern credit when I worked as a post-production assistant on the kid show Yo Gabba Gabba. This was the first time I came here, five years ago, as part my college degree program. Since returning to LA after graduation, I’m most proud of a project I worked on at Technicolor — duplicating the multitude of screener DVDs that are sent out to the various awards-voting organizations. It involved a lot of communication and attention to detail and I’m glad I could stand up in a leadership position to get things pushed through when no one else could.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
Back when I was working the graveyard shift here at StudioPost, I sometimes found it difficult to decipher what certain clients actually wanted. By the time we received the orders, some specs would get lost in translation. Getting things right required a lot of critical thinking and common sense.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Just the general tomfoolery I have with my co-workers from day to day… they're a fun bunch.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I would love to still be working union but I would like to be doing some level of post work on an ongoing show or production rather than reformatting and distributing material that comes to my department already in the can and wrapped.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
Spending as much time with my girlfriend, Sara, as possible, and playing with my cat, Angie. They're both pretty rad.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
City of God because of how confidently the shots and editing come across; it’s hard to find a more perfect film in my humble opinion. Children of Paradise has a great script with very intriguing characters… And Borat is just a fun film for getting some cheap laughs.
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
Peep Show and Parks & Recreation (except for Season 1) make me laugh till I'm sore. But when it comes to drama that keeps me on the edge of my seat, Breaking Bad gives me the adrenaline rush I'm looking for.
Do you have an industry mentor?
I have a few people to whom I look up and reach out occasionally but not really one specific mentor at this moment.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Whatever you do just give it your all — people will see that and appreciate it. There’s nothing worse than working with people who really don't care about what you're trying to achieve.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Thankfully, not yet. However, it would be nice to see a Guild classification added for my type of work in the near future, as it's becoming a more and more common type of job in the industry.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
As a great professor of mine once said, “Constant vigilance!” Vigilance on the job to be sure you're prepared for any unforeseen difficulties that are bound to come up, and vigilance in keeping a wild eye out for union busting.
- Compiled by Edward Landler
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